The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

The Playhouse Theater

    Frank & King's Comedians will arrive in this city the latter part of the week and begin a return engagement in the Armory Sunday evening.
    The press agent of the company reports that [the] company is the same, with the exception of Bert Wilcox, and will present a new repertoire throughout. "Father Steps Out" is the title of the opening number.
    The company is now completing a six-weeks' engagement at Marshfield.
Jackson County News, April 17, 1925, page 1

    The new theater in the Childers building, where the Frank's Comedians will open their show, "Saintly Hypocrites and Honest Sinners" Thursday night for a four-night run, is nearing completion under the direction of  Elmer Childers and his crew of workers.
    The theater, which was formerly used for a boxing arena, is being remodeled to fit the requirements of dramatic productions, and will be leased for the next three months, with an option for a year if the shows prove financially successful.
    Comfortably heated and ventilated, the theater should prove attractive for home talent productions on the nights when the professional performances are not held. The stage is being equipped with a complete system of lighting and scenery, and the dressing rooms furnished for the actors. The Frank company will play Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each week.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 17, 1928, page 3

Playhouse Theater Opens This Evening
    Frank's Comedians will open their new theater in the Childers building on East Main tonight with "Saintly Hypocrites and Honest Sinners." "White Collars" will be the next offering. Doors will open at 7:00 p.m.; Electrola concert from 7:15 until 7:30; orchestra from 7:30 until 7:45; vaudeville from 7:45 to 8:00 p.m. and curtain at 8:05.
    The Playhouse Theater will be open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The company plays the road the balance of the week.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 18, 1928, page 10

    Initiating the new Playhouse Theater, completed Thursday in the Childers building on East Main, with a fairly good presentation of the playable "Saintly Hypocrites and Honest Sinners," the Frank's Comedians, who formerly occupied the show tent on Sixth and Holly streets, drew crowded houses the remaining nights of the week. They will close this play here tonight.
    The announcement that the company is to present the clever comedy drama "White Collars," which had a year run in New York and broke attendance records in Los Angeles when Diane Esmond played the lead there for two solid years, should be a bid for the attendance of the more discriminating theatergoers of Medford.
    Following the play "White Collars," which will open here next Thursday night, the Frank's Comedians will present "Know Your Onions," another popular hit in New York and Hollywood. Then will come either "Laff That Off," the big Duffy specialty, or "What Ann Brought Home."
    Following out the promise for higher class productions, Mr. Frank has announced that a list of guest artists as well as permanent additions to the present cast of players are to be brought to Medford soon, to take part in the next season of plays.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 21, 1928, page 3

Medford News,
September 2, 1928

Medford Mail Tribune, November 1, 1928

    Tuesday night Frank's Comedians will present for one night only the comedy drama "Breaking into the Movies," a play with an abundance of comedy and a splendid story.
    Tuesday will be bargain night at the Playhouse, with admissions cut in half.
    On Thursday, "Know Your Onions" will have its first performance outside of Los Angles and New York. This comedy is entirely different in theme and construction and full of laughs.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 1, 1928, page 8

Medford Mail Tribune, November 11, 1928

    Beginning next Thursday night, Frank's Comedians at the Playhouse Theater will present for the first time in this city "Laff That Off." This play is said to be one of the brightest American comedies of the year. It was first produced in Chicago, where it played for an entire season. Going to New York, it played one full year.
    The title suggests the cheerful optimism of the prevailing spirit of the play. "Laff That Off" is bright and wholesome, lilting into laughter and verging on tears in moments of pathos. It tells of the deep-rooted friendship of three young men and a stranded young actress.
    A specialty will be clog dancing by Fred McKeen, a local boy.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 11, 1928, page 6

By Mary Greiner
    The love of three pals that weathered a progression of storms, the minor scrimmages that evolved from domestic duty in their small New York apartment where they shared their common lot, the cross-current heart tugs toward the same girl whom they took from the streets and made a member of their gang, their cruel disappointment in her when she "trimmed" them and escaped to seek a career, and their final separation by the great war, is the theme of "Laff That Off," the comedy which opened at the Playhouse Theater Thursday night.
    The ability to "laff" off the battles of life made the last, big laugh at the end of the play an enjoyable experience that sent the audience home happy for the boys, happy for themselves and happy that they had seen the play.
    At least two of the actors in this week's production deserve mention. Mason Wellington, who played the role of Leo, the quiet member of the "gang," maintained commendable restraint, and made his character speak volumes beyond the dialogue of his part.
    John E. Frank did his best bit so far, in the role of Remorse, the wisecracking vaudeville kid with the materialistic soul. Although he had a chance, he did not overplay his part, and contributed the best piece of comedy so far seen at this theater.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 17, 1928, page 3

    "The Dover Road," clever English comedy by Alexander Milne, is the vehicle through which the Studio Players, little theater group composed of a list of well-known actors, most of whom have had professional experience, will make its bow to Medford audiences December 10 and 11 at the Playhouse Theater.
    Proceeds of these two nights will be donated to the Catholic and Episcopalian churches here, the altar guilds of which will take charge of selling the tickets and handling the business arrangements.
    The play, which is being directed by Thomas Swem, who will also handle the settings for the productions, is now in rehearsal, and will include in its cast Earl Davis, Fletcher Fish, Fred McKeen, local specialty dancer, Jo Murray Rostel, who reached local fame in her radio interpretation of Madame Q and in a number of other air dramas, and Mary Greiner.
    It is the plan of the Studio Players to produce a play every month or six weeks, providing the first production meets success, and to work up a repertory company that will bring Medford a series of good plays and stimulate interest in drama locally.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 18, 1928, page 3

Too Many Husbands at the New Playhouse
    Starting tonight the Frank Comedians will present the farce comedy "Too Many Husbands." The comedy is said to be a rapid and screamingly funny one. The intangible situations arise fast and furious and keep the audience in an uproar.
    Mr. Frank has cast "Too Many Husbands" to good advantage. Miss Nellie Watters will play Dolly Sevier, who causes all the trouble. Miss Jana Karle plays Sylvia Wintrope, the nurse. Miss Doris Danita, as Aunt Prue, declares such "going on's never happened in her young days." Miss Doris Ezzell, as Meg, the slavey. [sic]
    Alvis J. Koch plays Tom Chance, the gambler. Carl Luthey, Dolly's husband. Mason Wellington is Sam Pollock, the suitor, and James Craig returns to the cast as O'Hara, the policeman who tries to capture his man and clear up the situation, only succeeding in complicating matters.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 22, 1928, page 8

By Mary Greiner
    "Too Many Husbands." After all, why not? Especially if they prove so harmlessly diverting as did Alois J. Koch and Carl Luthy in the make-believe life of Nellie Watters at the Playhouse Theater last night.
    When a young couple decide to get married, keep it a secret, and fake apartments on opposite sides of the town, things are apt to happen.
    For instance, a gambler may crawl out of a raided apartment downstairs and into the nearest apartment on his way up the fire escape. He may meet the young bride coming in the door, dressed in masculine clothes, and mistake her for a man. Oh yes--most assuredly he will--if the play is a farce.
    Then, in all probability, he will suggest that she smoke a cigar or two, put on the boxing gloves for a round and a number of other incongruous stunts. Especially if the disguised bride is feminine to the extreme.
    Enter the hick policeman, of course, just on the heels of wifie's successful attempt to hide the intruder, and the hair-raising search of "them rooms, by cracky." The gambler's second effort to escape is cut to the quick by the sudden appearance of hubby, which calls forth a riotous series of gyrations on the part of the bride, meaning that she is keeping calm on the brink of a nervous collapse.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 23, 1928, page 4

Frank's Comedians To Open Friday
    After an absence of three weeks, Frank's Comedians will again spread laughter and merriment in the Playhouse Theater. Mr. Frank has secured some exceptionally clever plays during his vacation, the first of which will be a delightful comedy-drama, "For Cryin' Out Loud." The second release will be a sensational comedy-drama of movieland, "A Hollywood Madonna." Two new releases, right off the fire.
    To allow the patrons of Frank's Comedians a little breathing spell after their orgy of spending for Christmas, Mr. Frank has announced the month of January as a bargain month. Children will be admitted anywhere in the house for 10 cents and adults for 35 cents.
    "For Cryin' Out Loud" will be presented only three performances, Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week. However, the usual four-day program will start the following week, opening "A Hollywood Madonna" on Thursday.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 8, 1929, page 10

Medford Mail Tribune, March 2, 1929

Up in Mabel's Room Tonight at Playhouse
    At the Playhouse tonight Frank's Comedians will present "Up in Mabel's Room." It is a comedy-drama, full of laughs and thrills. There will also be vaudeville and music by the orchestra.
    Frank's Comedians will be at the Armory Thursday evening, owing to changes in the Playhouse.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 3, 1929, page 3

Medford Mail Tribune, March 3, 1928

Frank's Comedians Armory Thursdays
    Frank's Comedians will be seen at the armory instead of the Playhouse Theatre on Thursday nights only of each week for a period of several weeks. The Playhouse is being remodeled for a picture theatre.
    Thursday, March 7, will be the opening night at the armory, and a play full of comedy situations will be presented, "This Family from Upstairs."
    Frank's Comedians will take the road six nights weekly and play one night in Medford.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 6, 1929, page 5

    The Playhouse Theater in the Childers Building on East Main Street, now undergoing reconstruction, will open and present its first moving picture on March 30, according to Gene Childers, owner, who is supervising the work.
    The little theater is developing into a real work of art, with colorful walls of green, stippled in gold and blending tones. A large lounging room and inner lobby has been designed, where soft carpets, upholstered chairs and davenports will provide a comfortable resting place for some of the audience during intermissions. Ladies' restrooms and gentlemen's smoking rooms also open off of this, as an additional attraction.
    The remodeled theater will also enjoy six exits, which is unusual in a theater so small, and a definite effort on the part of the local builder to guarantee the best in fire protection. An improved ventilation system has also been installed.
    Runways stretch the entire length of the theater on either side, and seats will also be placed behind a railing, giving the house a semi-Elizabethan aspect.
    The theater is also suitable for legitimate productions, one of the first booked to be the little theater play directed by Tom Swem and scheduled for early in April.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 21, 1929, page 5

Frank's Comedians Armory Tonight
    For one performance tonight, in the Medford Armory, Frank's Comedians will present the western comedy drama, "The Girl from Blacksnake Ranch," in four acts.
    The play is full of comedy and many thrills. The armory is a splendid house to stage this play, and many more late successes that the company is planning to give Medford. The seats are elevated, and a good view of the stage can be had from any part of the room.
    The performance starts at 8:15 p.m.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 23, 1929, page 6

"The Girl from Blacksnake Ranch" was apparently Frank's Comedians' last play in Medford. Their former home, the Playhouse Theater on East Main, was remodeled into the Isis Theater.

    L. Niedermeyer, who is building the new movie theater and office building at the corner of Sixth Street and North Holly, declared today the report that the theater had been leased by Warner Brothers and First National, Inc., was in error.
    "The building has been leased by Walter Leverette of Medford," said Mr. Niedermeyer, "and other pictures will be shown besides the Warner and First National films."
    Work on the building is proceeding rapidly, and according to terms of the lease must be finished and ready for opening in April.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 24, 1929, page 2

Last revised March 25, 2023